The Red Sox jumped on Jeremy Hellickson in the first two innings Wednesday to hand the Phillies an eighth straight loss.
The Phils answered Boston's five early runs with a three-spot in the third inning but did no scoring after that in a 7-3 loss.
They did have a slight chance in the eighth inning with two on, two out and Cameron Rupp representing the tying run but Rupp struck out against flamethrower Matt Barnes.
The Phillies (21-43) have lost three of Hellickson's last four starts after winning eight of his first nine.
Starting pitching report
What trade value (see story)?
Hellickson pitched poorly on Wednesday, allowing six runs to the Red Sox on nine hits and three walks over five innings as his ERA rose again to 4.91.
He's spent just one week of his Phillies career with a higher ERA, between his fourth and fifth starts last year.
It's been a true struggle for Hellickson since the end of April. In nine starts since May 1, he has a 6.89 ERA and his opponents have hit .310/.383/.610. That's a .993 OPS. To put that into perspective, there are only eight players in the majors this season with an OPS of .993 or higher.
Red Sox starting pitcher Brian Johnson left in the third inning with shoulder discomfort in his left (throwing) arm. The Phillies were sad to see him go as they preceded his exit with two doubles, a single and a homer.
The Red Sox's bullpen pitched 6 1/3 shutout innings after Johnson was forced out of the game early.
At the plate
Aaron Altherr homered for the second straight game, sending a two-run missile just over the left-field wall. He's hitting .286/.360/.550 with 11 home runs and 36 RBIs. His numbers have remained solid even as he's slowed down, a good sign of his sustainability.
Freddy Galvis doubled twice and walked, and Howie Kendrick singled in a run.
Maikel Franco, 6 for 9 in the two games in Boston, went hitless in four at-bats.
The list of players more fun to watch than Mookie Betts could be made on one hand. The guy does everything well — hit, hit for power, run, throw, roam the outfield. He's a true five-tool player, and as former Phillies GM-turned-Red Sox first base coach Ruben Amaro Jr. gushed about him before the game, one couldn't help but wonder how much farther along the Phillies might be had they been able to land Betts at some point. (Boston rightfully loved him so much that it was never really realistic even amid the countless trade connections between the two clubs.)
Betts went 4 for 5 with two homers, a double, three RBIs and four runs. Despite going 0 for 6 last night, Betts is 8 for 16 with six extra-base hits against the Phillies this week.
Xander Bogaerts doubled and drove in three runs.
In the field
Altherr doubled Andrew Benintendi off of first base with a rocket throw from the right-field warning track in the seventh inning. It's the second time this week Benintendi veered too far off the bag and was doubled off by a Phillies outfielder. Daniel Nava nailed him at second on his jumping catch on Monday night.
Even with Cesar Hernandez out through late July, the Phillies have no plans to call up second base prospect Scott Kingery, GM Matt Klentak said prior to Wednesday's game (see story).
Kingery entered Wednesday hitting .300 with 18 home runs, 35 RBIs, 55 runs and 14 steals for Double A Reading.
The fourth and final Phillies-Red Sox game of the year pits Chris Sale (8-2, 2.97) against Nick Pivetta (1-3, 5.52) Thursday night at 7:05.
Good luck with that one.